Learning Finnish

I'm going to be visiting Finland again for the New Year, which means I probably ought to be revising my Finnish in preparation. That makes for a good opportunity to write something I've had in mind for ages.

This isn't an attempt to teach anyone Finnish - my own knowledge is extremely basic, and I'd like to be clear about that from the start (if anything I've said is wrong, I apologise, but please do let me know!). This is simply a way of sharing what I've learned from my own experience of studying the language, in the hope that others in a similar position might find it useful.

 JYVÄSKYLÄ IN THE SUMMER

JYVÄSKYLÄ IN THE SUMMER

Why Learn Finnish?

A very good question, you might think. Of all the languages you could try to learn, no-one's going to claim that Finnish is one of the most useful in general around the world. There are said to be around 5 million speakers of Finnish, of whom you won't find very many outside of Finland itself. Unless you live there you shouldn't expect to need to speak it very often.

Still, I wouldn't say it's without its uses. While I'm probably unlikely to ever be the best French or German speaker in any given situation, however hard I try with those languages, if the time ever does come when a Finnish speaker is called for at my firm (for example) I suspect even my rudimentary knowledge will put me ahead of anyone else.

Of course, Finnish is going to be of most use to you if you intend having anything to do with Finland (and if you don't see why you might want to do that, may I point you towards a previous post of mine?). In that case, some Finnish will be very handy. English won't get you very far, for two main reasons:

  1. English isn't that widely spoken. in Finland Now, a lot of Finns speak very good English, but it's far less common than you'd find in Western Europe. It's not even the second language - Swedish is Finland's other official language (there is a significant population of Swedish-speaking Finns) and a compulsory subject at all levels of Finnish education. Of course, none of this is intended as a criticism; why should Finns learn English just to make things easier for us when they have a perfectly good language of their own? It's simply to make you aware that you shouldn't expect to be able to find an English translation wherever you go.
  2. You won't be able to figure it out like you might with French/German/Spanish etc. That's because Finnish is unrelated to almost any other European language - technically it's from the Uralic language family, rather than the Indo-European family that includes most European languages as well as Hindi, Russian and Urdu. It's therefore extremely different to anything you're likely familiar with, both in vocabulary and grammar (more on this later).
 JYVÄSKYLÄ IN THE WINTER

JYVÄSKYLÄ IN THE WINTER

How To Learn

I suppose that the best way to learn would be lessons with a native speaker, but I'm going to assume for the purpose of this that you're as busy/cheap as I am and looking to self-teach.

Unfortunately resources for learning Finnish are limited compared to more widely-spoken languages. For instance, you won't find a Roaetta Stone course (I've no idea whether it would be any good if there was, having never tried one). That said, there are still useful materials you should look out for.

My starting point was a book called 'Finnish For Foreigners' by Maija-Hellikki Aaltio. It's out of print now, I think, but you may be able to find second hand copies online. It might be a little dated now but I found the lessons quite helpful and the explanations of grammar clear.  There is an exercise book to accompany it, and if you follow that you'll be able to pick up the basics. There's also an accompanying audio CD, if you can find that too, with a few listening exercises. I like it, although it's probably better for learning reading/writing than spoken Finnish.

That concern led me to pick up 'Teach Yourself Finnish' by Terttu Leney. It's part of the ubiquitous Teach Yourself range (I'd previously used one of their book/CD sets to pick up some very elementary Dutch) and will be familiar if you've ever tried any of their other courses.  It's much more focused on listening exercises than Finnish For Foreigners, although I personally found it a bit harder to pick up the grammar. I'd say the two books work well used in conjunction, though.

With any language you're going to need to find a way of learning vocabulary that suits you. Flash cards are often a good way, but for a more high-tech alternative I'd recommend a website/app called Memrise.  At its core it's effectively flash cards, but with a few brilliant innovations. For one thing, it uses 'mems', which are pictures or mnemonic phrases submitted by users for particular words to help you remember them. For another, users can record the pronunciation of words to be played along with the card. Since this is all created by the userbase rather than a central authority, even for languages like Finnish there is already a very good collection of mems and recordings.

You can choose to follow pre-existing courses (again, submitted by users) or you can make your own. Personally I made a course with lessons containing all the vocabulary for each chapter of my books, as a way of memorising it alongside my study. It then uses an aparently well-researched system of revision and testing to help the words lodge in your mind and stay there.

There are also a whole range of features like points, friends and leaderboards that make it rather addictive. Even better, it's free. It has recently introduced a premium membership with some additional features, but you still get all of the above without paying.

Finally, I also like the book 'Finnish: An Essential Grammar' by Fred Karlsson. As the title suggests, it's a pretty comprehensive guide to Finnish grammar. It's most useful where you're struggling with some particularly weird Finnish rule that you've come across in the other books and want to see it properly explained. It's also a good reference for looking things up when you're trying to put your own sentences together.

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How Finnish Is Different

As I noted earlier, Finnish is likely very different from any other language you know. That can make it a bit more difficult - or more of an interesting challenge, depending on your point of view. However, one of the things that bothered me trying to learn some Dutch was that I could never tell how much of my understanding came from actual learning and how much was cheating based on what I knew of English and German. With Finnish, though, you get the satisfaction of knowing that anything you understand is a sign of what you've learned.

Here are some of the things you should expect from learning Finnish:

  1. Alien vocabulary. Finnish words bear no relation to their equivalents in any other language you know (unless you know Estonian or Hungarian, that is). If you're in Finland and see something that you think you can translate, it's more than likely Swedish.
  2. Long words. Finnish is an agglutinative language, which as far as I can tell means that it works by sticking stuff onto the end of words. There are various cases for nouns, which give them different suffixes.  Some of these are for where English would use prepositions. For example, the word sauna means 'sauna' (yes, really), but if you wanted to say 'in the sauna' you would say saunassa. Similarly, you can turn anything into a question by adding the suffix '-ko' e.g. saunassako? - 'In the sauna?' If you see a long word, it can quite possibly be broken down into an entire sentence.
  3. Surprisingly easy pronunciation. Pronunciation in Finnish is generally very regular, and stress is always on the first syllable, which means that once you know how each letter and diphthong is supposed to sound you can pronounce most words.
  4. No future tense. This one takes some getting used to. In Finnish, to talk about the future you use the present tense, with the appropriate words to indicate the time (such as 'tomorrow') if necessary. This supposedly has some interesting psychological effects; a study has found that people who speak languages without a future tense tend to be better prepared for the future.
  5. A separate form of language for speaking. This is annoying when you learn the written form and then realise that everyone is speaking something slightly different, and that you sound silly to them. Oh, and that's not even getting into the dialects.
  6. Gender-neutral pronouns. The pronoun hän means both 'he' or 'she'. While the difference in English can sometimes be convenient, it is also very annoying when trying to talk about a person of unknown gender, and forces you to use cumbersome descriptions (e.g. 'the robed figure') in sentences crying out for a pronoun.
  7. No articles. You can't say 'a car' or 'the car', just 'car'. The meaning is normally clear from word order.
 THE HELSINKI CATHEDRAL

THE HELSINKI CATHEDRAL

The Bare Essentials

I know I said I wasn't going to teach any Finnish, but as with most languages, you can go lo a long way with a few simple words and phrases. In no particular order, here are a few that you really need to know before visiting Finland:

Hei means 'hello'. You can also use moi, or (hyväähuomenta which means 'good morning'.

Näkemiin means 'goodbye'.

Kiitos means 'thank you' but you can also use it to say 'please' (two words for the price of one!). When handing something over (e.g. money) you can also say olkaa hyvä, which is used like 'here you go' .

Hauska tavata means 'nice to meet you'.

Saanko...? means 'can I have...?'

Olutta means beer. Koskenkorva is a delicious brand of vodka. So, at a bar you might say Saanko Koskenkorva, kiitos?

 HELSINKI RAILWAY STATION

HELSINKI RAILWAY STATION

Conclusion

I hope that this might be of some use if you're trying to learn Finnish. I've tried to keep things simple, but if you notice any errors please do let me know and I'll correct them. Also, if you have any suggestions for other good ways to learn Finnish, I'd be very glad to hear them!


If you liked this you might also be interested in my other articles about Finland. Alternatively you might want to read my first novel. I can't promise that it will help you learn Finnish, but then again I can't promise that it won't.

Update 15/12/2014

Another week gone and another chapter edited - Chapter Twenty-Three, to be precise. Work is also well underway on the next one. We're well and truly into the climax now, and if you'll forgive me for saying so it's all getting rather exciting.

There's something I'd like to share with you, by a gentleman called Matt Gemmell. He was once a software engineer but recently gave that up to be a writer. I've been following his blog for a while now and it's invariably brilliant, whatever he decides to write about on any given day.

I've been meaning to point you in his direction for a while now, but a post from last week gives me a convenient excuse. It's the best answer to the old question of 'how do you get your ideas?' that I've ever come across, and I'd endorse it wholeheartedly.

Another post of his that rang particularly true for me is this one from August, entitled Genre Shame, in which he deals with the sense in which the adventure thriller he is writing is somehow less worthy than literary works.

It's a feeling I know well. Now, I'm the first to argue that science fiction/fantasy settings allow one to offer new perspectives on the kind of questions that literature seeks to answer, and indeed to ask new questions that might not otherwise have occurred to the reader or writer. Both classic and modern sci-fi have done as much to explore the human condition as any other type of work. (Not that I'm presuming to claim any such importance for my own writing, but you know what I mean.) But still, there's always that moment of slight dread when someone asks 'what's your book about?' - 'oh, it's just a fantasy adventure'.

I don't honestly think fantasy deserves that 'just', but there's a definite perception of it in popular imagination. Rightly or wrongly, I always wonder if the person I'm explaining it to will be a bit disappointed that I haven't written something more respectable. Gemmell doesn't have the answer, but it's good to see someone openly talking about it.

Anyway, the whole blog is worth a read (or, you could buy his book of collected writings). It's by no means all about writing, and you'll certainly find something that strikes a chord. 

Update 08/12/2014

Not too much to say this week, except that I've now edited Chapters Twenty-One and Twenty-Two. Which means, for those of you keeping up, that there are just three more and an Epilogue to go. Actually, one of those is a big one, so it's more like four, but in any case  the end is in smelling distance.

To celebrate, here's another picture. It's not actually a picture from Krakenbar, since I wouldn't trust Trink with my camera, but it might as well be.

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1st Anniversary

I can hardly believe it, but today marks the first anniversary of The Two Empires' first publication on the Kindle store.

Since then it's been read by a lot of people, some friends and some strangers. That's been one of the strangest parts of the experience: this world and story that for so long was confined to my own mind has broken free to reach others, and those others have been able to tell me what they think. Feedback has been very positive, as have the reviews - check Amazon if you haven't already (and leave your own review while you're there!).

And of course in the course of the last year I have almost entirely written its sequel, The Devil's Gate. Since the last update I've finished editing Chapters Nineteen and Twenty, which leave just the final five to go. Will it be done by Christmas? I don't know. But if you've volunteered to be a test reader expect to have something early next year!

I know I'm slightly late for Thanksgiving, and in any case I'm not American, but this does seem like a good opportunity to say thank you. To everyone who has read the book, and those who have given feedback, left reviews, and given their encouragement. It all means an awful lot to me, seriously. 

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Update 09/11/2014

Writing is going well: Chapters Fifteen, Sixteen and Seventeen are now edited, despite something of a busy week. And they're quite some chapters, let me tell you. Actually, I'm not going to tell you - you'll have to read them to find out. For now, let's just say they're 'hard-hitting' and leave it at that.

My target now is to have the Third Draft wrapped up by the end of the year. I'd then be able to do a full read-through to pick up any remaining holes, and develop whatever needs developing, before going out to a small test audience early in 2015. That's the plan, anyway. We'll see what life has in store for the rest of this year. 

 Krakenbar. At least if I could come up with an explanation for the satellite dishes.

Krakenbar. At least if I could come up with an explanation for the satellite dishes.

Halloween 2014 Update

Happy Samhain, or All Hallows' Eve, or alternative festival of your choice!

I'm back from Morocco now, after a very enjoyable week. It's a fascinating place, and feels a little bit like being in Krakenbar. Expect a full travelogue and photos some time in the future. I've today managed to get Chapter Fourteen edited, and I'm hoping to do some more editing over the weekend to hopefully bring this draft near to a close.

It has actually been about a year now since I launched malkovari.com, and so I thought it might be interesting to share a few statistics courtesy of my Big Brother style surveillance network Google Analytics:

  • The site has had 3,716 different pageviews
  • The average visitor spends 1 minute 26 seconds on the site
  • I have had 1,016 visits from the UK, 335 from the US and 280 from Finland
  • Aside from the homepage, the most visited pages are Finnish Design, Why I Love Finland and (unexpectedly) Bananaweizen

Who knows how things will stand after another year?

Anyway, that's enough for a Halloween evening. I'll leave you with one of my holiday pictures. Because when you think about it, what's more frightening that the endless uncaring void hanging over us?

Update 19/10/2014

Just the one chapter edited this week, but it's been a busy one. For one thing, as hinted last week, I've just bought an apartment in Cambridge. At least, I've had my offer accepted, and I've now got the conveyancing process ahead of me before hopefully being able to move in December. Very exciting!

Aside from that, I was invited to attend the local Rotary District's annual conference as part of a panel on RYLA. If you're interested, I wrote a piece about my experiences earlier today.

Finally, there won't be any editing next week, nor an update next weekend, since I'll be in Morocco. But business as usual should resume by the following weekend. Until then, have fun. 

Jack

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RYLA: The Rotary Youth Leadership Award

I've previously mentioned going on RYLA, but I've finally got round to putting my thoughts together in writing. This is a very slightly edited version of what I've written for my firm's internal newsletter.

Last month I was lucky enough to attend the Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA), a week-long course organised by the Rotary Club each year at Grafham Water near Huntingdon.

To be quite honest, when I was asked by my firm to go I was more than a little apprehensive. The website is quite vague as to what’s actually involved, although it makes one thing very clear: you will be challenged mentally and physically. I didn’t know anyone else who would be going this year. Would it really be my sort of thing?

As it turned out, the website’s warning was entirely accurate, but I can honestly say that RYLA was one of the best things I’ve ever done.

After driving down to the Grafham Water Centre on Saturday, we started off by getting to know the other 41 RYLA candidates before being sorted into the five different teams in which we would be working for the rest of the week. The first of our daily team review sessions finished at 10pm, at which point we then set out for what our itineraries had described as the Night Walk. I think most were expecting a short stroll around the Centre before bed. As it turned out, each team was given an OS map and a series of map references to follow. By 1.30am when we finally reached our pick-up point, we were quite proud of our successful navigation, and it was hard to believe we’d only known each other for a few hours.

There was a good balance of physical and mental activities. We spent the second day on the water, sailing, canoeing and kayaking, which was a lot of fun, and over the course of the week we did archery, rock climbing, raft building and a series of team practical initiative activities. There was also a business simulation, in which we tried to set up and run a toy company, several presentations to deliver, and a series of workshops on leadership, public speaking, different personality types, creativity and other topics. It was very intense!

One of the highlights was the expedition. We set off on Wednesday afternoon carrying our equipment, again navigating by map, although this time as well as a lot of walking we also had the chance to put our new-found skills in sailing and canoeing to use. That night we made our camp and cooked dinner on a camp stove, and then bedded down to sleep for a bit before setting off once more in the morning.

A big strength of RYLA is the diversity of the candidates, who ranged from 17 up to 26, from all different sorts of backgrounds and at various stages of their careers. We all had different strengths and everyone struggled with different parts of the course, so we were all able to support each other and everyone could take the lead at different times. As much as I learned from the course itself, I probably picked up just as much from the other candidates.

The week ended with everyone delivering a final presentation. We all agreed that we felt far more self-confident than we had seven days ago, and ready to apply everything we had learned. It was sad to say goodbye to friends that we felt we’d known for years, but of course we’ve kept in touch.

Coming back to work I’ve done my best to put into practice the various lessons learned and be a more effective leader. I was later asked to attend the Rotary District Conference, where along with several other past candidates I took part in a panel about RYLA. If it hadn't been for RYLA then I very much doubt I would have felt comfortable standing up in front of the hundreds of delegates to answer their questions!

If I haven’t already made it clear, I think RYLA is an incredible worthwhile thing to do. If you get the chance to attend next year you should definitely take it. Some people like me are sponsored by their employer, but most were paid for by their local Rotary Club. And if, like me, you think it’s probably not the sort of thing you’d put yourself forward for: you’re probably the sort of person who’s going to get the most out of it! If you want to know anything else about it, do get in touch.

Update 12/10/2014

Another week gone. I've just about managed to edit two more chapters, which is more than I was expecting. It's been a busy week in more ways than one, not least because I've been trying to buy a house. But more on that when there's something to report.

With Chapter Twelve edited, that puts me squarely half way through the third draft. It's slow going but we're getting there. Once this draft is finished, I think the next step will be to do a complete read-through with a view to picking up on any continuity errors and plot holes, and to seeing where further development of characters and setting might be desirable. But that's still a good way off, for now, and there's a lot of writing to be done first.

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Update 05/10/2014

Gosh, October already. Where's the year gone? I think it's safe by now to say that The Devil's Gate won't be out for Christmas. Still, with another two chapters edited this week and four more typed up, progress is being made and it should still be done early next year. That's ten chapters done - hopefully by this time next week I should have hit the half-way mark.

Now it's October that does happily mean that my holiday to Marrakech later this month is coming into sight. I do very much need a holiday, and I'm particularly excited to visit Marrakech since it should be unlike anywhere else I've ever visited. Hopefully chance to get a good cover photo while I'm there - perhaps I should claim it as a tax deductible expense (I'm not actually going to claim it as an expense).

Update 28/09/2014

Another brief one this week. It's been a busy week - busier than usual, that is - but Chapters Seven and Eight now bear the pencil marks of editing. I've also finally got around to making the first four chapters of edits on the computer, which is a relief in case my manuscript folder catches fire or something.

Things are definitely moving, and we'll get there eventually!

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Update 21/09/2014

Just a brief one this week. I've finished my edit of Chapters Five and Six, which I'm quite pleased with. But I've mostly been taking the chance to think through some of the backgrounds details that needed further development, and I'm even more pleased by how that has turned out.

I've also found myself doing a fair bit of research. Topics this week include coffee agriculture, materials science and teleology.  I can assure you these are all relevant to the book, unlike this next picture of Downing College in the snow.

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Update 14/09/2014

Good news - I've finally made some progress on the editing. Chapters Three and Four are now finished, and I've made a good start on Chapter Five. On paper, at least; I still need to get round to making the changes on the computer. Feels good to be moving forward, although the end feels like a long way off.

I've actually got some other good news, too, although not book-related. Last week I came to the end of my two year training contract, and tomorrow I will be officially admitted as a Solicitor. After six years of legal study and training, that's quite an exciting thought. 

Even better, I'm being kept on by my present firm: Ashton KCJ, who have offices all around East Anglia. I'll also be staying in my present department in the Cambridge office, dealing with wills, trusts, powers of attorney, the administration of estates, and that sort of thing. I'm hoping now to be able to move to Cambridge, if I can find an affordable apartment. 

So not a bad week, really. With any luck I'll have more progress to report next week. Until then, since I've got nothing new or relevant for you, here's an old picture in suitably celebratory style.

 In case you're wondering, Armin van Buuren's A State of Trance 600 in Den Bosch. What a day.

In case you're wondering, Armin van Buuren's A State of Trance 600 in Den Bosch. What a day.

Update 07/09/2014

Well, as predicted last week, I haven't had chance to do any editing since then.

What I have been doing since then is attending RYLA, the Rotary Youth Leadership Award.  It's a week long course organised by the Rotary Club for young people around the world. The one I went to was held at Grafham Water near Huntingdon.

Really it deserves far more of a write up than this, but that will have to wait until I've had the chance to get my thoughts in order. For now, it's enough to say that it's been one of the greatest weeks of my life. It's been very challenging, mentally and physically, but I've been working with some absolutely fantastic people (if you're one of them: hello!) and learned a lot more than I ever expected. 

If you ever get the chance to attend a future RYLA, I'd strongly recommend you to grab that chance with both hands. I was more than a little apprehensive before I went - after all, I'm a rather anxious person who has never done anything like this before - but once I was there I realised that it was one of the best things I've ever done. I am extremely grateful to the Rotary Club for arranging it, my firm for sponsoring me and for everyone who made this week so special. 

Update 29/08/2014

Unfortunately I haven't got a massive amount of progress to report today. It's been a busy couple of weeks.  Still, I am now in the process of editing Chapter 3, so that's something.

There won't be any progress next week, I know, since I'm going to be taking part in the Rotary Youth Leadership Award at Grafham water. I don't really know what to expect, except that it is going to be extremely busy.

Once I get back though I will make sure I get on with the editing, and hopefully I will soon have a bit more to report!

Update 17/08/2013

First of all, if you haven't seen it already, check out last week's post for the official announcement of The Devil's Gate!

Despite being very busy, this has actually turned out to be quite a productive week. I've been able to complete the second draft, which is simply running each chapter through my computer's spelling and grammar checker and pressing the 'Ignore' botton a lot, but which nevertheless still uncovered a whole lot of typos.

More than that, I've also printed out the full manuscript of The Devil's Gate, which is quite an impressive stack of paper. I'd include a picture, except that I forgot to print a title page and it's still in the 'Oh Gods I Couldn't Possibly Bear Anyone Else Reading This' phase (a phase which, on past experience, lasts until roughly four months after the date of publication).

Plus, thanks to a train ride down to London this weekend I've also managed to edit the Prologue and Chaper One. It's not quite as much of a total re-write as the early chapters of The Two Empires, thankfully, but still a lot of pencil. There aren't many sentences that haven't been touched in some way. Fortunately, editing isn't providing to be as hard as I was expecting. Which is good, since if I don't enjoy reading my own writing then I can hardly expect anyone else to.

No good reason for the following photo, but I do quite like it: 

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Announcing The Devil's Gate!

As I announced yesterday, the first draft of the sequel to The Two Empires is now complete, and I am very pleased to announce it will be called The Devil's Gate!

In the weeks since the Battle of Dianthus, Jag Garrick and Charley Rose have been taking a well-deserved holiday, during which Charley tries to tutor Jag in the basics of magic. But then a summons from the Emperor brings them back to the capital where they find themselves called upon for an important diplomatic mission. A peace treaty between the empires of Dianthus and Krakenbar has been proposed, and the presence of the year's most celebrated hero at the negotiations is requested.

And so it is that Jag and Charley find themselves in Salamanca, the impregnable Krakenbaric fortress-city on the border between the two empires, known commonly as The Devil's Gate. However, there is more to the purported diplomacy than meets the eye, and they will soon be caught up in a secret plot to seize control of the city. Amidst the politics and espionage, they are going to need their allies old and new in order to survive.

Meanwhile, at the Dianthus Mages' Guild College, Avana Solen starts work on her research project. Initially the esoteric and very theoretical discipline of Translocation seemed the least interesting or useful assignment imaginable, but that is all about to change with the discovery of mysterious and incomprehensible devices on board the captured skyship Midnight Blade. Her attempt to find the purpose of this technology will bring her and her brother Aramil to the city states of the Tastella River south of Krakenbar, and eventually even further afield.

Throughout all this the Cult of Maar continue their secret work. Their defeat at Dianthus was a setback, but only a temporary one. Plans to bring the world under the control of their new order continue, and the day of their true invasion draws nearer...

The Devil's Gate explores the cold war between Dianthus and Krakenbar, the reasons for the conflict and the lengths to which the two superpowers are willing to go to achieve dominance. It also sees Jag and Charley dealing with the aftermath of the events of The Two Empires. Are lovestruck heroics really a good foundation for a relationship? Can Jag adjust to his new-found celebrity and those who want to manipulate him for their own purposes? Find out in the thrilling new installment of The Malkovari War, with all the diplomatic intrigue, undercover operations, assassinations, shocking discoveries and skyship chases you could hope for!

There's a lot of editing between what I have now and what I will eventually be willing to release, so we're not quite there yet, but keep checking back here to stay up to date. If you haven't yet got around to reading The Two Empires you probably shouldn't have read all the spoilers above, but there's no better time to pick up a copy! And if you have read it, please do leave a review and tell your friends.

First Draft Complete!

It feels rather surreal to be finally reporting this, but the Epilogue of Book Two, and therefore the whole of Book Two, is now complete in first draft.

It's funny how in the course of writing the boundary between dream and reality has continually shifted. For the years in which I was writing the first draft of The Two Empires, it was a long time before the idea of having a complete manuscript felt like something that would ever happen. For a long time I assumed that it would sooner or later come to a halt and be forgotten, as other writing projects had done before. 

Once I had the first draft complete, there was still a daunting amount of editing to do and it still didn't seem at all likely that I would one day have a final manuscript that I would feel comfortable releasing to the public. And yet now the familiar cover of The Two Empires can be found on my shelf and the shelves of other people.

At the start of this year, even having released The Two Empires and started on Book Two, I was still only half way through and the idea that as busy as I am I could complete the first draft any time soon hardly seemed realistic. And yet, here we are.

Now, the editing that lies ahead once again seems almost insurmountable, but this time I actually think I can do it. I might have a finished product this year, or I might not - there's an awful lot going to happen between now and December - but at some point, relatively soon, it's going to be available for you all to read.

Expect a post sometime this weekend announcing the title and basis of Book Two. It will be nice to finally talk about it. I remember I read somewhere once that it was traditional to eat chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream on finishing a book. I don't know if it was meant to be on the first draft or the final one, and I've never heard it mentioned by any other author, so I've no idea if that's actually a real thing. But it seems like it ought to be a tradition, and it's one I embraced for the completion of The Two Empires, so I guess I'll be looking for ice cream tomorrow.

It's been a good day for endings. Get ready for a new chapter. 

09/08/2014: Updating for ice cream. If this isn't actually a real tradition, it ought to be!

 

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